Pike River: The 29 coal miners who never came home

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Thadee Phutsri
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Pike River: The 29 coal miners who never came home

#1 Post by Thadee Phutsri »

The Pike River mining disaster was a tragedy that shocked the world. Twenty-nine men who were in the New Zealand coal mine died when it collapsed in a series of explosions. The BBC's Phil Mercer covered the accident 10 years ago and has been talking to families of victims still coming to terms with their loss.

The day after his 17th birthday, Joseph Ray Dunbar began his first shift underground at the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand.

He was a "strong-minded boy" who wanted to carve his own path in life, but on that day in November 2010 he became the youngest victim of a mining disaster that killed 29 men. pg slot true wallet

Their bodies have never been recovered, and a decade later the teenager's father Dean is still looking for answers.

"In a modern society you don't wipe out 29 men and just walk away," he told the BBC. "Joseph's legacy is righting the wrongs of the past whether it be by government agencies, police or politicians."
In 2012, a Royal Commission found the miners and contractors were exposed to "unacceptable risk" and that "there were numerous warnings of a potential catastrophe at Pike River," but there have been no prosecutions.

The inquiry concluded the men "died immediately, or shortly afterwards" from a methane gas blast or the "toxic atmosphere". Two workers did manage to escape the blast and survived.

News of an accident at the mine in the Paparoa Ranges began to emerge in the middle of the afternoon on Friday, 19 November, 2010.

Family members soon gathered, and in the hours and days that followed, there was hope that the men might still be alive, although the authorities said a rescue mission was too dangerous. A nation prayed for another mining miracle.
A few months earlier, 33 miners in Chile's Atacama Desert had been pulled out alive after being trapped underground for 69 days.

"That was totally on my mind the whole time," explained Anna Osborne, whose husband, Milton, died at Pike River.

"I saw how successfully those Chilean miners were rescued and I thought if they can all come out alive, it can happen to us. But little did I know that that mine (in Chile) wasn't a gassy one."

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For five long days the families waited. As a reporter sent to cover the story at the time, it was excruciating for me to watch their anguish and frustration grow.

There would be no rescue, and on 24 November another explosion ripped through the mine, and all hope was gone.
Ms Osborne told the BBC that she is "still fighting to get the truth and still wondering why our guys were allowed underground when the mine was so volatile (and) was a ticking time bomb."

Not all of the families want the men's remains to be recovered, but she said it would be a great comfort to bring her husband home.

"He was working in the south (part of the mine), which was flooded. My husband couldn't swim, so he hated the water and I close my eyes every night and visualise him floating in this water that he hated so much and I just thought I can't have him down there. If we can, I would like as many men to be retrieved," she added.

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